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NT Water Police drug seizure
NT Water Police alcohol seizure
NT Water Police and Mermaid Vision
Crime Stoppers

Drug Trafficking - Tiwi Islands

Sunday 27-May-2018 18:15

Northern Territory Police have arrested four people on drug charges after rescuing them from a vessel which had run out of fuel.

The men were drifting towards Indonesia and were around 70 nautical miles (130 kilometres) offshore when they were spotted by a federal aircraft around 8:00pm last night.

The group had already been drifting for 30 hours and had only just been reported missing when they managed to attract the attention of the plane.

“They will also be charged for not having adequate safety gear on board the dinghy,” Sergeant John Pini said.

“It was fortunate the pilot saw them shining a light from their phone on a jerry can and in the boat to attract attention. They would have been in big trouble if the Australian Border Force Aircraft hadn’t spotted them.”

Sgt Pini said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), their Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) and the shipping vessel Mermaid Vision worked with Northern Territory Water Police to save the men’s lives.

“They were about a quarter of the way to Indonesia and would’ve been lucky if they had enough water to last them another day. It could’ve turned into a life threatening situation.”

During the rescue effort it was discovered that the men were in possession of several bottles of alcohol and a commercial quantity of cannabis which were seized along with the vessel.

Three men have been given notices to appear in the Wurrumiyanga court at a later date. A 24-year-old man has been charged with possessing and supplying a commercial quantity of a Schedule 2 drug and been remanded in custody to face court tomorrow.